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State v. Shelley

929 P.2d 489 (1997)

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State v. Shelley

Washington Court of Appeals

929 P.2d 489 (1997)

Facts

During a pickup, un-refereed basketball game, Jason Shelley (plaintiff) punched Mario Gonzalez in the face, breaking Gonzalez’s jaw in three places. Gonzalez needed emergency surgery, and his jaw needed to be wired shut for six weeks to heal. Gonzalez’s doctor stated that a significant blow caused the injury. Prior to the punch, Gonzalez had repeatedly fouled Shelley during the game. In later interviews with law enforcement, Gonzalez claimed Shelley punched him spontaneously; however, Shelley claimed he punched Gonzalez to avoid being fouled again. The State of Washington (defendant) charged Shelley with assault in the second degree. Shelley countered, arguing that Gonzalez consented to rough treatment by participating in a pickup basketball game. Shelley did not raise the self-defense defense. The trial court convicted Shelley of second-degree assault, holding that, although Gonzalez accepted some risk by participating in the basketball game, getting intentionally punched in the face was not within the scope of accepted risk. Shelley appealed, arguing that Washington’s second-degree assault statute was impermissibly vague.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Grosse, J.)

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